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Discord is launching a game store

Just a few weeks back, Valve moved into Discords turf a bit with a dramatic overhaul of Steams chat system. Today, Discord is returning the favor by playing with the idea of selling games through its namesake chat platform. The company says itll launch a beta of the game store later today, though itll initially be limited to a small slice of its user base (which now sits at 150 million users). More specifically, the beta will roll out to just 50,000 users from Canada at first. Itll be dabbling in game sales on two fronts: theyll directly sell some games, while other games will be added perks for its Discord Nitro subscription service. Whereas Valve has massively increased the number of games on Steam over the last few years by opening up to third parties through things like Steam Greenlight or (more recently) Steam Direct, Discord is pitching this as a more curated offering with a slimmer number of options. At least at first, they say theyre aiming for something that feels more like one of those cozy neighborhood book shops — which, on day one of the beta, translates to 11 games. The games itll sell first: While 11 games may not seem like much, you can bet theyll offer more than that in time. See that screenshot up top? You dont dedicate an entire tab in some of your apps most prime screen real estate unless youre hoping to make it a key part of your business. Taking things one more step forward, Discord is also getting into (temporary) exclusives — or, as it calls them, First on Discord games. While it doesnt mention names and none will roll out with todays beta, Discord says itll soon highlight select indie games thatll be available only on Discord for the first 90 days-or-so after their respective launches. Meanwhile, the company is also testing the idea of building up its premium subscription add-on, Discord Nitro, into a game subscription service. Whereas the $5-per-month service previously primarily got you a few mostly aesthetic perks like animated avatars, a special profile badge and bigger upload limits, the same 50,000 players mentioned above (or, at least, those on Windows) will get access to a rotating set of games. The first games hitting the subscription beta: While many of those games arent exactly new (some of them are 5+ years old), a lot of them are really great games (Ive lost days to Super Meat Boy) that not everyone has gotten around to playing. Its a solid way to pique peoples interest in giving Discord a bit of money each month if the GIFs and badges werent quite enough. Oh, and for good measure, Discord is making itself a launcher — that is, youll be able to sort and launch most of the games on your computer right from Discord, including games purchased elsewhere and even those, notes the company, that require another launcher to run. If thats not a shot across the bow in Steams direction, Im not sure what is.

Discord will start selling games in a 'curated' store

You'll also receive 'free' games with a Nitro subscription. Discord isn't just for chatting (and watching the occasional video) any more. The community-driven service is launching a beta that will offer games, including a full-fledged game store. The new portal will offer a "curated" store that focuses on titles both Discord and the community feel you might like. That currently includes a mix of familiar, well-received indie games like Dead Cells and Into the Breach. However, that's really just the start. The company is borrowing a page from Twitch by offering a selection of 'free' games with a Nitro subscription ($5 per month or $50 per year). You're not going to get blockbusters, but you will see recognizable names like Super Meat Boy and System Shock: Enhanced Edition. Discord is even nurturing games, too. It's unveiling a "First on Discord" initiative that will back indie titles in return for a 90-day exclusive on availability through Discord's shop. There aren't any titles in the beta, but they should come "soon." And whether or not you care for the store, Discord might make your game experience a tad simpler. It's adding a Universal Library tab that can launch "any" of your games through Discord, even if they require go-between launchers. The beta is currently limited to roughly 50,000 Canadian players, so don't expect to see it just yet. Even at this early stage, though, it's clear that Discord wants to be known as more than just a chat portal. It's not about to directly challenge Steam's vast game library, but it could quickly become a home base for many of your gaming needs.